The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have warned of the dangers of spreading “misinformation” online, stating that it can “snowball” from the digital sphere into the real world.
The duchess explained that in the past few years, she has realised the significant role “online spaces” have within the initiatives she is involved in for girls and women.
“It was only in the past couple of years we both started to connect the dots… all the work I was doing on women’s empowerment or young girls and their sense of self worth and seeing what the online spaces were doing to that community,” the 39-year-old said.
Prince Harry added that he has noticed the negative impact online spaces can have on important issues such as the environment, explaining that the digital world can “hamper the progress that needs to be made” because of the misinformation that is frequently spread.
“This misinformation that seems to snowball from one place that is the online space and then ending up in our physical world, a lot of the time we don’t know where it comes from, we don’t know how to trace it back,” he said.
The 36-year-old said that the “huge amount of trust” that is placed in the media “sometimes is undermined”, describing the media as “absolutely vital”.
The duke stressed that there is “an overwhelming desire for everybody out there for truth”, emphasising that what happens online “is affecting the world”.
“It is not restricted to certain platforms or certain social media conversations or groups,” he said.
“This is a global crisis – a global crisis of hate, a global crisis of misinformation, and a global health crisis.”
During the Time100 episode, Meghan and Prince Harry said they have spoken to several academics and experts about how the online world can be made “healthier and better for all of us”.
Meghan spoke to Ohanian about the similarities that they share, stating: “I know we have shared experiences in being in interracial marriages and you know raising small children who are of mixed race and how that plays into that.”
The pair also discussed the amount of vitriol that is present on social media platforms, prompting the duchess to say: “The good outweighs the bad, but my goodness, the bad can be so loud.”